KPD: Search continues for suspect who sexually assaulted woman at Ijams

9:28 AM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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(WBIR-Knoxville) A spokesman with the Knoxville Police Department says a woman who was sexually assaulted as her toddler watched was released from the hospital Wednesday night.

The police say the assault happened at Ijams Nature Center Wednesday afternoon.

Officers are actively looking for the suspect.  They ask anyone who saw unusual activity around Island Home Wednesday to report it to KPD.  The public can call 865-215-7212.

(WBIR-Knoxville) Knoxville police officers are looking for a man who sexually assaulted a woman Wednesday afternoon at Ijams Nature Center.

Investigators say the 24-year-old woman is expected to be released from UT Medical Center Wednesday evening.

Police said the victim was walking on a trial in the park with her 2-year-old daughter when a man shoved them both to the ground and then sexually assaulted the woman.

KPD spokesperson Darrell DeBusk said the 2-year-old suffered minor injuries and has been treated and released from the hospital.

The 911 call came in around 2:30 p.m.  KPD could not say where the assault happened, but did say the woman was not at the main center. 

The victim, who is from East Tennessee, described the suspect as a white man in his 20s, about 6'1" tall, 185 pounds with a goatee. He has a distinctive scar through his left eyebrow.  He was wearing a blue hoodie over a white shirt, dark blue jeans, a black skull cap and white tennis shoes.  He fled on foot.

Ijams Nature Center's Director, Paul James, said in his 13 year tenure, there had never been a violent incident.

"This is something that's never happened before," James said. "We are taking this very seriously."

The park reopened Wednesday afternoon after police cleared the scene.

One visitor, Jesenia Matthews, received a text message about the attack while she was riding her bicycle alone on a secluded back trail.

"I actually stopped came back and went on the shorter trails, more populated trails, because I wasn't sure what was going on. Rather be safe than sorry," Matthews said.

Anyone with information is asked to call KPD at (865) 215-7212. Callers can remain anonymous.

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